Body shape and risk of heart disease
In a large population study of normal-weight to obese adults without heart failure, higher levels of natriuretic peptides—including B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP)—were linked with having a “pear-shaped” body. This type of fat distribution—with less fat in the abdominal viscera and liver, and more fat in the lower body—is associated with a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
But does the heart release the peptides, which then cause fat to be distributed in a “healthier” way? Or does the adipose tissue cause the heart to release these hormonelike peptides? The research was not designed to establish a causal relationship, but the authors suggest that this could be a bidirectional process.It could be that this is a bidirectional cycle, wherein somebody who becomes obese, as obesity increases, you have more and more visceral fat, which may suppress your release of natriuretic peptide from the heart . . . and then lower levels of natriuretic peptide can cause more accumulation of visceral fat, so it’s kind of a vicious cycle.
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